21 May 2011 6 PM – the End of Times for this world according to 89-year-old Harold
Camping, an apocalyptic proselytizer who might be just an apoplectic, if not apologetic,
proselytizer now that his dire prophecy has failed to materialize (or more accurately
dematerialize). Mr. Camping’s cult is supported by almost $100 million in funds
from his numerous followers. The question remains how much of his funding and followers
will still follow the misleading leader. Mr. Camping had previously predicted global
demise in 1994 but after surviving that near death experience attributed his mistake
to a mathematical miscalculation. Many of his followers sold all their belongings
and left their jobs in preparation for the end of the world. Do poor, unemployed
persons get preferential treatment over rich workers during a time of rapture?
Some enterprising people will always seize the financial rewards in any situation
and the apocalypse certainly has many out-of-this-world, going-out-of-business liquidation
opportunities. A pet care provider in Australia promised clients in her “after the
rapture” web site that she would look after the ownerless pets in a post-rapturous
world if pet owners paid her $10.00. There were actually a few believers who sent
in their share for the pet care. The pet owners were probably under the impression
that pets were not allowed on board the “Rapture Express” and that the pet care provider
was being allowed to remain to turn out the lights once everyone else had been transported
by the rapture.
Believers cannot be blamed for believing that they are facing the end of times what
with the recession, the wars, conflicts, killings, terror (state-sponsored and rebel
related) as well as the belligerent and bellicose bluster of loutish “leaders”. Mr.
Camping’s followers had been informed that Doomsday would occur in stages as the
clock struck 6 pm in each time zone. New Zealand would be the first to have an end
of the world experience followed by Australia going from “Down Under” to “Up Ever”
in a manner of speaking. Mr. Camping, being wiser this time around after outliving
his 1994 Doomsday prediction, had hedged his bets and made plans to watch baseball
on TV on Sunday if Doomsday was a no-show on Saturday. He had said that he would
only be disappointed if his baseball team lost but he should realize his team’s loss
is not necessarily the end of the world.